Wall Street surges at open, Nasdaq hits record on French vote result

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The Nasdaq hit a record high on Monday, with other indexes also rallying, as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Centrist candidate and market favourite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French election.

Polls showed pro-EU Macron is expected to beat right-wing rival Marine Le Pen in a deciding vote on May 7, quelling some fears of a breakup of the Eurozone after Britain's shock exit vote last year. "The markets are in a strong rebound as the expectations of the first round of the French elections results were pleasing," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.

The rally on Wall Street was broad-based, with all of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors trading higher, led by a 2 per cent surge in the financial index as big U.S. banks rose.

The three major indexes notched gains of more than 1 percent.

At 9:34 a.m. ET (9:34 p.m. Singapore time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 209.6 points, or 1.02 per cent, at 20,757.36, the S&P 500 was up 25.3 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 2,373.99 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 67.49 points, or 1.14 per cent, at 5,978.02.

US investors are also gearing up for the busiest earnings week in at least a decade, with over 190 S&P 500 members, including heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft due to report results.

Overall profit for S&P 500 companies is estimated to have risen 11.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with the 10.1 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Prices of safe-haven gold dropped nearly 1 per cent, while the CBOE Volatility index tumbled nearly 19 per cent.